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Things to Do: Dance, visual art openings, book discussions

Things to Do: Dance, visual art openings, book discussions

Jennifer Reifsneider

Jennifer Reifsneider's sculptural fiber work is on view at the Gallery of Visual Arts at the University of Montana. 

Here’s a guide to some arts events in the next week.

Bare Bait is back

(Jan. 22-31)

Missoula’s contemporary modern company is returning with a show that was planned for last spring. In “CXQ Redux,” you can watch three original works adapted for filmed performances and home viewing. The creators include Nicole Wolcott (a New Yorker who’s moved to Montana), Mollie Wolf, a guest from L.A., and Kelly Bouma, former company co-director, of Missoula. Go to for more information or see this week's featured article.

Abstract work at the Radius

(Jan. 22-Feb. 27)

A new exhibition, “The Sense Beyond Desire,” features four Montana artists working in abstraction. The mediums are varied — LeAnn Boyd’s frescoes, Pamela Caughey’s smoothly surfaced but kinetic encaustics, Ashley Meyora in encaustic and mixed media, and Sean O’Connell, a functionary potter whose surfaces complement the other artists in the show.

To see the show on opening weekend, head to to sign up for a 30-minute arrival window.

Contemporary fiber art on campus

(Through Feb. 25)

The Gallery of Visual Arts at the University of Montana is hosting a pair of shows that deal in fiber in a contemporary manner.

Sarah Jones’ “W(h)ither The Garden,” comprises “prints, drawings, stitched fibers and actual plant specimens referencing botanical imagery and ways of chronicling loss,” according to the GVA news release. It includes 18 floor-to-ceiling mesh banners comprising a “ghostly meadow." Jones is visiting assistant art professor at UM.

“Set Study” by Jennifer Reifsneider delves into concepts (cognitive psychology, mathematics and philosophy) and processes (stitching, knitting and crocheting) in service of sculptures based on the body. Reifsneider won an artist innovation award from the Montana Arts Council in 2020.

The GVA is on the first floor of the UM Social Science Building. It’s open from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Thursday or by appointment. For more information, go to

Clairmont’s Tar Sands Project, in book form

(Saturday, Jan. 23)

Back in 2014, Corwin "Corky" Clairmont embarked on a years-long endeavor called “Two-Headed Arrow/The Tar Sands Project.” The artist, a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, logged 900 miles visiting sites related to oil extraction, including the Athabascan tar sands in Alberta, and Standing Rock in North Dakota. Along the way, he took photographs at regular stops that were eventually transformed into an exhibition at the Missoula Art Museum, with prints, pictures and text. A new catalog presents the installation in book form, with color photographs and essays by artists and scholars — including Kate Shanley (Nakoda, professor and chair of Native American Studies at the University of Montana); Gail Tremblay (Mi’kmaq and Onondaga, artist and writer); Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Salish-Kootenai, Metis-Cree, Shoshone-Bannock artist); Neal Ambrose Smith (Salish and Kootenai artist); MAM curator emeritus Stephen Glueckert; and UM English professor Katie Kane.

The MAM will hold a virtual moderated discussion at 1 p.m. with Clairmont and the writers. Go to for registration information. 

The book is $25. Go to or head to the MAM to buy a copy. Signed copies will be available after the talk.

Chris Sand at the Social Distance Sessions

(Saturday, Jan. 23)

Montana’s own “Rapping Cowboy” will take the stage with his repertoire of country, folk, cowboy poetry, hip-hop and originals. He’ll have assistance from Ian Smith on keyboards and Grace Decker on fiddle.

To watch, tune in at 7:30 p.m. on the ZACC Facebook page, MCAT’s YouTube channel or its Local Live site. It’s free to watch, donations are suggested through Givebutter at

“Mill Town” to Milltown

(Thursday, Jan. 28)

Draw connections between the legacy of extractive industry in western Montana and rural Maine through a virtual event with the Montana Book Festival.

The guest is Kerri Arsenault, author of “Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains.” The title refers to her own hometown, a small community whose story will sound familiar — with a major employer of a paper mill that left behind environmental and health problems. Kirkus Reviews called it “a crisp, eloquent hybrid of atmospheric memoir and searing expose.”

She’ll talk about the project with local author Chris La Tray and historian Leif Fredrickson via Zoom at 6 p.m. MST. To register, go to

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